Mindy Flexer


Contact Information

maflexer@gmail.com

Phone: (215) 991-5817

http://www.mindyflexer.com/

5225 Greene Street Unit 9 Philadelphia PA, 19144

Paintings

Artist's Biography

Mindy Flexer is a professional realist painter and teaching artist who works, teaches art, and lives at Greene Street Artists Cooperative in Germantown, Philadelphia. Flexer has exhibited her work at venues that include Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia’s City Hall, Artists’ House Gallery, and national plein air festivals in Pennsylvania and Maryland. Currently, she is an associate member of Cerulean Arts Collective in Philadelphia, and also shows at Mary Williams Fine Arts in Boulder, CO. Flexer holds a BFA from The University of the Arts and a M.Ed. from Tyler School of Art, and has studied extensively at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

Flexer teaches art classes at her live-work loft and art studio, the home of Mindy Flexer Art School. She is committed to being one of Germantown’s neighborhood artists, a landmark young artists can keep returning to as they grow up, and that adult artists can use to deepen their art practice. She loves sharing her passion for art with people of all ages and walks of life, and believes in the power of art to unite and transform people and communities. She is grateful to be part of the long chain of artists teaching other artists, and looks forward to many more years of making, teaching, and learning about art.

Artist's Statement

All of my work as a painter is based in observation, though what my eye has alighted on has changed over the years. I began with traditional still life and landscape, which became more and more narrative, until my work became magical realism. Over three decades, I came to the realization that I wanted to capture not just the truth of observation, but also the truth of impermanence and my wrestlings with it.

I started my current body of work in 2016, at a time when I was meeting new babies on the first days of their lives, and seeing beloved comrades on the last days of theirs. At first, I set up still lives with toy figures and origami cranes. I used them to paint ancestors standing on the shore as their descendants traveled by boat into the future, and origami cranes pointed toward the possibility of transcendence. I put all the figures in boats when I realized there is no shore: all ancestors are descendants, who are ancestors. Eventually, I released the figures from gravity and they joined the flocks that used to fly above them, creating a joyful, ordered, chaos.

Eventually, I wanted to use real birds and people. The people became my family, or their avatars, and the birds became humble pigeons, crows, and doves. These birds are thought to be nothing special, or even pests, but they have miraculous qualities. Crows in particular are much maligned, but have remarkable intelligence and empathy. They form loyal, long-term partnerships, and travel in large family groups. Like birds, my flying people move as individuals and as a group, always together and always separate. We let go and hold on, our personal comings and goings governed by universal forces and geometry. The shapes of our movements create layers of space that create layers of time.

At first, I saw these movements as part of a universal, unchanging cycle of lives arising and disappearing. I have since realized that even though impermanence is constant, the world is not. Each generation is born into a different set of causes and conditions, and each person makes the world anew. I, too, remake the world, fashioning it with the fundamental questions: Who am I? How can I find belonging, freedom, and meaning?

Each generation of my family answered these questions with its own organizing principle: it was G-d for my great-grandparents, security for my grandparents, the intellect for my parents. Now it’s my turn, and for me it is painting. In my most recent paintings, I am using images of my family to explore where I am, where I came from, and how the arc of my family resides within the greater arc of time. Each painting’s geometry explains the old stories once again: new shape relationships create new ways of understanding family relationships, which create new shape relationships. As I work, the shape architecture of each painting and of the family relationships in it co-arise, continually revealing themselves to me. Each painting is another new discovery of my family’s shape music, with all of its harmony and discord.

My work remains rooted in observation, at the same time that needing to paint scenarios that don’t exist in the world compels me towards more and more invention. I remain on my quest to use the synergy of these alternating currents to find a deeper truth. I am using the language of painting to remake the world anew: to honor my ancestors, to celebrate those who come after me, and to share my gratitude for the ongoing mystery of being here with everyone and everything that is.

I continue to be curious about where my work will go, and surprised by the way I follow more than I lead. Or perhaps I do both. As Yeats asks, “Are we the dancer or the dance?” Yes: there is always more unknown territory to explore, some of it far afield, and some of it closer than close. I remain so grateful that it continues to offers itself to me, and that I can offer to others.

Selected Exhibitions

Solo
2018
Philadelphia Paintings, Everyone At the Table Cafe, Philadelphia, PA

2015
Away From/Home, High Point Cafe, Philadelphia, PA

2011
Life As, The Sedgwick Theater, Philadelphia, PA

2007
Philadelphia Paintings, High Point Cafe, Philadelphia, PA

Group
2019
Art in City Hall: Visual Democracy, City Hall, Philadelphia, PA
Juror: Gaby Heit

Cerulean Arts' 7th Annual Juried Exhibition, Cerulean Arts, Philadelphia, PA
Juror: Jane Irish

Cerulean Arts Collective Members' Exhibitions, Cerulean ARts, Philadelphia, PA
Juried Exhibition

2018
Let's Connect: Philly's Artists Take on the Barnes, The Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, PA

Dear Fleisher, Fleisher Art Memorial, Philadelphia, PA

2016
Outdoor Creations Plein Air Art Show, Boulder County Parks and Open Space Foundation, Longmont, CO
Juried Exhibition

Dear Fleisher, Fleisher Art Memorial, Philadelphia, PA

2014
On the Edge: Seeing With New Eyes, Artists' House Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
Juried Exhibition

On the Table: The Art of Still Life, Artists' House Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
Juried Exhibition

2013
View of Philadelphia, Artists' House Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
Juried Exhibition

New Faces, Artists' House Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
Juried Exhibition

2012
The Eviction Proof Peep Show Home, Live Arts Festival, Philadelphia, PA
Curator: Vashti Dubois

Dear Fleisher, Fleisher Art Memorial, Philadelphia, PA

2011
Art in City Hall: My Home Is In My Heart, show of BuildaBridge teaching artists and student, Philadelphia, PA

2010
Art in the Open, juried plein air festival and exhibition, Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery, The University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA

Dear Fleisher, Fleisher Art Memorial, Philadelphia, PA

2008
Paint Annapolis, juried plein air festival and exhibition, Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, MD

Plein Air Easton, juried plein air festival and exhibition, Academy Art Museum, Easton, MD

Paint Snow Hill, juried plein air festival and exhibition, Bishop's Stock Fine Art, Snow Hill, MD

2007
Wayne Plein Air Festival, Wayne Art Center, Wayne, PA
Juried Exhibition

Around Town, Wayne Art Center, Wayne, PA
Juried Exhibition

2006
From the Studio IV, Center for Emerging Visual Artists, Philadelphia, PA
Juried Exhibition

2005
The Garden is Art, Art of the Garden, Sande Webster Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
Juried Exhibition

74th Rittenhouse Square Fine Arts Annual, Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, PA
Juried Exhibition

Betsy Meyer Memorial Exhibition, Main Line Art Center, Haverford, PA
Juried Exhibition

2003
Art at the Plant, J.B. Kelly Foundry, Philadelphia, PA

2002
Teachers as Artists, Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia, PA

Other
2003 - 2018
Philadelphia Open Studio Tours, Philadelphia, PA

Professional Experience

Selected Art Teaching, Freelance
2007 - present
Mindy Flexer School of Art, Philadelphia, PA
Teaching Artist

2019
John B. Kelly School, Philadelphia, PA
Teaching Artist through a Picasso Project Grant

Simon Gratz High School Internship Program, Philadelphia, PA
Mentor

2016
Frasier Retirement Community, Boulder, Co
Artist-in-Residence

2007 - 2009
BuildaBridge International at Women Against Abuse, Philadelphia, PA
Teaching Artist

Teacher Training Institute for the Arts, Settlement Music School, Philadelphia, PA
Teaching Artist

2007
Leah Stein Dance Company, Philadelphia, PA
Director of Education

Fleisher Art Memorial Community Partnerships in the Arts, Philadelphia, PA
Teaching Artist

Masterman High School at a project at Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, PA
Teaching Artist

Selected Art Teaching, Public and Private
2011 - 2014
The Bridge Way School, a recovery High School, Philadelphia, PA
Art Teacher

2005 - 2006
Charter High School for Architecture and Design, Philadelphia, PA
Design Teacher

1996 - 2004
Greene Street Friends School, Philadelphia, PA
Art Teacher

Affiliations

2019 - Present
InLiquid Art + Design, Philadelphia, PA
Artist Member

Cerulean Arts Collective, Philadelphia, PA
Associate Member

2018 - 2019
Mary Williams Fine Arts, Boulder, CO

2013 - 2014
Artists' House Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

2007
Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, ME
Artist in Residence

Education

2008, 2014 - 2015
Studio Incamminati, Philadelphia, PA
Continuing Education

2006 - 2007
The Schuylkill Academy of Fine Art, Philadelphia, PA
Independent Study

2002
Florence Academy of Art, Florence, Italy
Summer Workshop

2001
Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, PA
M.Ed. and Teaching Certification in Art

1998 - 2002, 2004-05, 2009, 2013
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA
Continuing Education

1989
The University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA
B.F.A. in Ceramics

1984 - 1985
Watson Fellow in Ceramics, Japan

1984
Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH
B.A. in Music